Wednesday, October 04, 2006

the postmodern church

For those hoping for a blueprint for a pm church, I am going to have to disappoint you! Or for solutions to the malaise of the 'modern church' you will have to look elsewhere. I have recently been challenged and inspired by the book 'the out of bounds church' by Steve Taylor, which looks at the potential for creating living Christian communities in a changing world. Also, in a variety of reading over the last few years i have been equally inspired by the opportunities that societal change makes possible, and whilst not wanting to dump wholesale the 'old' ways of being church, i long to explore new ways of being Christ's followers in a pm age.

My inspirations:
  • church is relational, not rational - in fact that is the best way to think of Christian faith, it is not about accepting the right doctrines (though i believe doctrine is the anchor that holds faith secure - but i've warbled on about that before) but about knowing God through Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. It's not knowing about Jesus, its knowing Jesus. Likewise the Spirit-filled community should be (in the words of Prof Ann Loades,Theologian) conspiring - breathing together of the love and creativity of God. Supportive, embracing one another and the world outside - just as Jesus and his first followers did.
  • we have a story not just creeds - Jesus was a master storyteller, preferring on the the whole parables to preaching. In a world which is suspicious of anything that purports to be 'the truth' we don't impose belief systems, but tell the story of the one who is God and man, the one who is the 'the truth' (and the way and the life) - the man who was and is God's story made human. Our scriptures tell a story of life and salvation, our churches gather to share the story and live that story. Instead of trying to argue people to faith we can invite them to tell their story, then we can tell ours and also invite them to become a part of the story of God's love. In the greatest sense we can have a share in history.
  • admitting we don't have all the answers should be attractive not frightening, we embrace the mystery of God, the mystery expressed in the created world, in our own creativity, in the joy of life, in the sufferings of the world. In a world that responds to images and sounds and touch and taste as well as just words, we have the creative power of the one who made all at our fingertips. We are made in the image of God, therefore we have the potential for creativity and life.
That's my first thoughts, for more see the books below. I have no doubt that this will be the first of many posts on such subjects. Like all theology and faith this is a work in progress and doesn't pretend to give answers where there are more questions to be asked.

By the way, thanks Tom for your comments on my last post, i hope that some of what i've written above gives a bit more to chew over.

Books for more reading (if you like)

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